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Draft Day

Draft Day is here! This is one of the most exciting days in the NBA for the true fan of the sport. The championship trophy rarely travels outside a few cities, the preseason is long and because most players keep themselves in shape year-round, they don’t need that many games (see this year’s Seattle Sonics. Horrible in the preseason, played the first -game like it was preseason, then they woke up) so there’s zero excitement in the preseason.

Then the regular season starts, but championship teams don’t “flip the switch” until Christmas so there’s little excitement there. In fact, in the not-too-distant future, the Christmas day games for the NBA will probably hold a spot in sports fans interest much like the NFL games on Thanksgiving do.

The playoffs are very exciting for many NBA cities, but the format is still so horrible that it takes quite a bit of the zest out of following the whole thing (unlike baseball where the addition of a Wild Card team has really boosted that sport’s playoff appeal).

So the NBA draft is one of the most exciting days for the true fan.

In comparison to other drafts, it still ranks behind the NFL in interest because, well, it’s the NFL for one, but guys can be drafted in the 6th round and have a major impact for their team immediately (meaning first or second year). That makes it exciting to try and figure what’s going to happen there. But, it’s a two day draft and that takes some of the drama out of it.

The MLB draft? Please, a Pauly Shore movie gets more hype and notice.

The NBA sealed their day of excitement when they went to the 2 round format in 1989. Now the NBA draft is a sprint. It moves as quick as the Suns offense.

But probably the most exciting part of the day is the point that one guy matters on an NBA floor. Watching the draft, you might see the time when your team drafts that one guy that puts the franchise you follow over the top for years to come. It happened recently with Amare Stoudamire taken towards the end of the lottery. Paul Pierce is another guy chosen late (’98) that has helped a franchise get to a Conference Final (Dirk Nowitzki was chosen one spot ahead of him in one of the most exciting draft day trades of all-time).

So this is an exciting day when the fortunes of any franchise not named the Hawks have a chance to turn the future of their team around for years to come.

Are there any of those types of players in this draft? A quick scan of NBA draft history demonstrates there are typically very few players that become perennial all-stars from any one draft.

Chris Paul, Gerald Green and Danny Granger (my sleeper) strike me as guys that might make a difference down the road from what I’ve read. But who knows? That’s what makes it fun. It’s as much art as science. Each pick is an educated guess, but it’s made as much with the gut as it is with the head.

And in all the draft excitement, may this be the year the Seattle Super Sonics get the “steal of the draft!”